Arizona hospitals are probably going to have another difficult January

Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2021 - 1:41pm
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COVID-19 infections have slowed down slightly over the last week in Arizona, but hospitals remain extremely crowded and modeling suggests January is likely to be one of the most difficult months of the pandemic in the state.

“For hospitals, I think it’s going to be as difficult as it was last year, it just may be for slightly different reasons," said Dr. Joe Gerald with the University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health. "It won’t just be COVID, but it will be COVID plus these other things.” 

In his weekly COVID-19 report, Gerald wrote that the end of Arizona's delta wave, a rise in flu cases, and the arrival of the highly contagious omicron variant are all  likely to occur within the next several weeks. 

“If the timing works out that all three of these things hit at the same time, it’s going to put additional pressure on our hospital capacity and our ability to make sure everybody who needs critical services can access them,” Gerald told KJZZ News. 

Arizona's inpatient beds are 94% full. The state is currently reporting more COVID-19 deaths per capita than anywhere else in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. 

"Given how poorly prepared we are, it is going to be ugly," Gerald wrote in his report. 

Gerald said the state should do everything it can to promote vaccinations, boosters for all adults, and masks in indoor settings.

"The omicron wave is going to happen. It is going to result in more transmissions," Gerald said. "Anything we can do at this point to slow that down is going to pay dividends in the future." 

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